Sports car entrepreneur John Mangoletsi launched the new International Sports Racing Series in the summer of 1997, and the championship won full FIA recognition in October 2000. Renamed the FIA World Sportscar Championship, the reuse of the once-defunct title illustrated the organisers’ lofty ambitions. The series was for open top sports-racing cars with a focus on cost control and weight handicaps that aimed at keeping the racing close and affordable.
The Ferrari 333SP was the class of the field and won 60% of the races during the first four full seasons. However, the first new sports car in two decades from the Japanese Dome concern was introduced in 2001. It ended the year with a winning streak and became the only constructor other than Ferrari to be crowned champions a year later. Jan Lammers' Racing for Holland successfully defended the title in 2003 as the championship was organised for the last time.